As you may know, the government recently approved a second stimulus package for Americans. Included in this package is $25B earmarked for rental assistance to benefit those that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that the state of Florida will likely receive $1.4B of this stimulus. While this is likely not enough to cover everyone in the state, it should cover the past-due rent balances ($6,000 each) for more than 200,000 Florida households. If distributed based on population, Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties should receive a combined $402 million – enough to wipe out $6,000 balances for at least 60,000 households.
Who will qualify for aid?
Qualifying for this aid should be less cumbersome than it was for the first COVID-19 relief package. While funds are available, tenants can qualify for up to 12 months in past-due rent, plus 3 months for future rent if one or more household members meet this criteria:
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
- Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median. On average, 80% of the median household income in the tri-county region is about $48,113, but that number could differ depending on the county.
- Priority will be given to households at or below 50% of the median household income – about $30,000 – but it’s not yet clear how priority will be determined
When will the money be available?
This is a common question that unfortunately we can only speculate on at this time. While large counties will get the money directly, smaller cities and counties will receive it through the state. The bill gives the government 30 days after it was enacted to make the money available to state and local governments. President Trump signed it on December 28th, so housing assistance organizations in South Florida might not receive it until January 28th. Therefore, eligible landlords and tenants could expect to see funds received sometime in February. With the eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of January 2021, there is cause for concern with the timing of this aid. However, it is largely expected that the incoming administration will extend the eviction moratorium through September 2021. Given this expectation, the hope is that landlords are not left out of the national conversation about housing stability and have been offered no assistance to deal with maintenance costs, property tax bills and utilities.